Taking two bodies of knowledge, two vocabularies, and performing a synthesis between them is the goal of this blog. The two bodies of knowledge offered up for synthesis here are that of daoist cosmology and quantum biology. This synthesis is then used as a framework to approach the realm of healing.
In Daoist cosmology we have dao – the ineffible source from which all things are born and to which they inevitably return. The process of returning something back to this source is of great interest in Daoist alchemy. If the dao had an adjective it would be yuan. As a Westerner reading the glossary of the Huainanzi (Major, Queen, Meyer, Roth) I am reminded of the process-oriented nature of the Chinese language, where “yuan X = to trace X back to its origin”. This is a useful distinction to be made, where in most translations of the alchemical literature, yuan is rendered simply as the adjective “original”, “primordial”, or “source”.
It is also important to be reminded of qi as meaning more than the active, inherently yang force it is often characterized as, e.g. energy, movement, breath, expression, mood, etc. Let us not forget, both mass and energy are qi. In fact, it is said that “even the Dao is composed of qi.”
This is because the dao is antecedent to the nothingness from which even the source of all things spring. The dao may be ineffable, but – at the very least – it is. The truest nature of being is void. It is from this void (zero, 0) that the dao was born (one, 1).
“The meaning of emptiness or the void is not the absence of anything. It’s the presence of pure potential prior to manifestation.”Brandt Stickley, private lecture, January 2017
What does this have to do with quantum biology?
In physics we have the quantum vacuum, the quantum foam, the zero-point energy field, or – preferably (to my tastes) – the ether. The ether was a commonplace and useful notion in physics until it’s existence was spuriously “debunked” by the Mickelson-Morley experiments of 1887. The Darwinian impulse (who died in 1882) in the domain of physics could build further steam, unobstructed, without some soft-serve ice cream ether getting in the way. As has been discussed on this blog elsewhere, the arc of all spirit-less “natural” science has been a constipated attempt at denying what invariably rests always and everywhere, right in front of one’s face. An insightful colleague of mine, Shifu Ramon, after seeing this newly publicized “mystery” regarding oppositely rotating galaxies, said “you just wait, next is dark gravity.”
Dark energy, dark matter, dark gravity – all ether.
“If it’s a boundary within a boundary with a boundary to infinity… there is no point [through] which I can calculate the center, so each point is the center. Each point contains the whole. Each point is a point of stillness that maintains the spin. Without the stillness, no spin can occur – and all we see is the spin, not the stillness. We see what radiates from the singularity; from the stillness. The eye of the hurricane; the eye of the galaxy.”Nassim Haramein, 1st television interview, 1995
This ether (read: quantum vacuum) is the fundamental emptiness of space at the very fine level (at least in regards to what we think of as “solid”) and the incredible potential energy that exists within that empty space. Let us not forget that the very thing which is quantized in quantumelectrodynamics as the very building block of reality is spin – some sort of pure, spiralized force. Without this “spin”, there is nothing. Sounds like “even the Dao is made of qi.” Enough spin in one place, and mass-equivalence (e=mc^2) renders what we think of as “solid”.
How’s this relevant to healing?
In Chinese Medicine, yuan qi is conceivably the most subtle and rarified form of qi that is utilized by the body. It’s thought to be taken in through specific acupuncture points in the body and then gathered in the mysterious organ, the sanjiao, or triple burner – an organ with “function but no form” – and then redistributed to the internal organs of the body to give them their essential vitality and function. Kind of deep, no?
Allow me to propose an alternate definition of yuan qi in light of quantum biology.
Let yuan qi be the process of utilizing charge from the ether – something which is inherent to all biological systems according to the discoveries of the new biophysics. In this model, yuan qi becomes something specific, namely biology’s ability to squeeze charge from the vacuum by leveraging the crystalline structure of water. I may even submit to you that the centrality of the taiyang–shaoyin relationship in Chinese Medicine, an expression of the alchemical interplay between fire and water, alludes to this essential function in biology. And of course the shaoyang organ sanjiao would be assigned the duty of distribution of source qi, given it’s frequent association with the fascia and the interstitial spaces of the body, where a dense network of long, superconducting proton currents are said to flow through the coherent fields within water (Ho, et al.). These proton currents of what is essentially bioplasma might be likened to the ministerial fire of the sanjiao and pericardium as well.
Simply by equivocating between the dao and the quantum vacuum in relation to biophysics, we enter into a new frame. What, then, is the redox potential of the mitochondria – perhaps part of the cooling function of shaoyin water, regulating the flow of information through the shen and into the cells of the body? What might be the role of the mitochondria themselves, being organisms (not organelles) that function primarily through the use of light (fire), water, and oxygen (also likened to qi)?
If, at this preliminary level, we could conceive of yuan qi as being simply charge pulled into the body through water from the ether, then where do zhong qi, zheng qi, zhen qi, ying qi, wei qi, and gu qi fit into play?
A provisional thought-sketch (these will be familiar to any student of Chinese Medicine):
zhong qi – perhaps a function of coherence in heart rate variability, being a macro-scale iteration of the coherence of cellular processes utilizing coherent domains.
zheng qi – perhaps a more esoteric concept, some inherent function within biology not only to defy thermodynamic equilibrium and entropy, but also the downward force of gravity. Perhaps natural, biological anti-gravity.
zhen qi – perhaps the very proton neural network which holographically maps the bodies information onto itself. The soliton-web entangling remotely located cells, rather than a soup of Brownian motion.
ying qi – perhaps a function of the mitochondria’s cytochrome C oxidase particularly as it relates to shuffling food electrons over the membrane surface.
wei qi – perhaps a function of immune cell’s proticity and their ability to utilize reactive oxygen species to decohere the cellular membranes of their targets.
gu qi – perhaps simply food electrons themselves.
Surely the brilliance of the Daoist cosmological insights and the insights into biology informed by QED theory must be playing themselves out not only in reality but in tandem with one another. Turning those unified insights into a useful clinical framework for acupuncturists and practitioners of Chinese Medicine is what I’d like to see happen.
“We have to be brave enough to engage in speculative metaphysics.”Jeffrey Kripal, RuneSoup Podcast, Talking The Secret Body
Here’s to exploration. Here’s to the future of medicine.